\ \ [17] A demagogue is literally a ‘leader of the people’. The word represents Greek demagōgós, a compound formed from demoscommon people’ and agōgósleader’. (This was derived from ágeindrive, lead’, a verb related to Latin ageredo’, and hence to its host of English descendants, from act to prodigal.) In ancient Greece the term was applied particularly to a set of unofficial leaders drawn from the common people who controlled the government of Athens in the 4th century BC, and whose irresponsible rule (as their critics saw it) has given demagogue a bad name ever since.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • démagogue — [ demagɔg ] n. • 1790; 1361 1688 sens gr.; gr. dêmagôgos « meneur de peuple, chef d un parti populaire » ♦ Personne qui flatte les masses pour gagner et exploiter leur faveur. Le démagogue est le pire ennemi de la démocratie. Adj. Orateur,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • demagogue — (n.) 1640s, from Gk. demagogos popular leader, also leader of the mob, from demos people (see DEMOTIC (Cf. demotic)) + agogos leader, from agein to lead (see ACT (Cf. act) (n.)). Often a term of disparagement since the time of its first use, in… …   Etymology dictionary

  • demagogue — or demagog [dem′ə gäg΄, dem΄əgôg΄] n. [< Gr dēmagōgos, leader of the people < dēmos, the people (see DEMOCRACY) + agōgos, leader < agein, to lead: see ACT1] 1. Obs. a leader of the common people 2. a person who tries to stir up the… …   English World dictionary

  • Demagogue — Dem a*gogue (?; 115), n. [Gr. dhmagwgo s a popular leader; commonly in a bad sense, a leader of the mob; dh^mos the people + agwgo s leading, fr. a gein to lead; akin to E. act: cf. F. d[ e]magogue.] A leader of the rabble; one who attempts to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • demagogue — I noun agitator, charismatic leader, declaimed exciter, factionary, factioneer, factious leader, fanatic, firebrand, fomenter, haranguer, incentor, inciter, inflamer, instigator, leader, mob swayer, plebicola, plebis dux, politician, popular… …   Law dictionary

  • démagogue — DÉMAGOGUE. sub. m. Chef d une faction populaire …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • demagogue — [n] agitating person agitator, fanatic, firebrand*, fomenter, haranger, hothead*, incendiary, inciter, inflamer, instigator, politician, rabble rouser*, radical, rebel, revolutionary, soapbox orator*, troublemaker; concepts 359,412 …   New thesaurus

  • demagogue — ► NOUN 1) a political leader who appeals to popular desires and prejudices. 2) (in ancient Greece and Rome) an orator who supported the cause of the common people. DERIVATIVES demagogic adjective demagoguery noun demagogy noun. ORIGIN Greek d …   English terms dictionary

  • DÉMAGOGUE — s. m. Celui qui dirige une faction populaire ; ou Celui qui affecte de soutenir les intérêts du peuple, afin de gagner sa faveur et de le dominer. Un démagogue audacieux. Un habile démagogue.   Il se dit quelquefois de Celui qui est du parti… …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 7eme edition (1835)

  • démagogue — (dé ma go gh ) s. m. 1°   Dans l histoire des républiques grecques, chef, meneur d une faction populaire. •   Le malheureux Mélanchthon se regarde, au milieu des luthériens, ses collègues, comme au milieu de ses ennemis, ou, pour me servir de ses …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • DÉMAGOGUE — n. m. Anciennement, il signifiait Celui qui dirigeait une faction populaire. Il signifie plus souvent aujourd’hui Celui qui affecte de soutenir les intérêts du peuple, afin de gagner sa faveur, de le dominer, de le conduire. Un audacieux… …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 8eme edition (1935)

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